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AHRQ Toolkit Helps Health Care Providers Communicate With Patients and Families When Harm Occurs

Monday, May 23, 2016   (0 Comments)
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The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) today released a new online toolkit to help hospital and health system leaders and clinicians communicate accurately and openly with patients and their families when something goes wrong with their care.


The toolkit will help expand use of an AHRQ-developed communication and resolution process called Communication and Optimal Resolution, or CANDOR, which gives hospitals and health systems the tools to respond immediately when a patient is harmed and to promote candid, empathetic communication and timely resolution for patients and caregivers.


Despite the best efforts of hospitals, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, about 1 in 10 patients are harmed by the care they receive. Effective communication following harm can be challenging, leaving patients and families to wonder what happened and possibly seek legal action to find answers. The toolkit, which includes facilitator notes, slides, and online videos, enables health care organizations to make care safer by implementing the CANDOR process to encourage proactive, open communication with patients and their families when harm occurs.


The CANDOR process was developed by AHRQ and is based on expert input and lessons learned from the agency’s $23 million Patient Safety and Medical Liability grant initiative launched in 2009, the largest federal investment in research linking improved patient safety to reducing medical liability.

CANDOR is an example of a communication and resolution program, which some hospitals are already using. These programs help remove barriers to the reporting of near misses and errors and encourage open communication about how to prevent future harms. The CANDOR process was tested and applied in 14 hospitals across three health systems, which plan to expand its use: Christiana Care in Delaware, Dignity Health in California, and MedStar Health in the Baltimore/ Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.


The CANDOR toolkit, which is customizable and available at no charge, is the latest in a series of AHRQ materials to teach, train, and catalyze health care providers to build capacity to make care safer. AHRQ is a health services research agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that invests in evidence and research to understand how to make the health care system safer and improve quality. AHRQ also generates measures and data used to track and improve performance and evaluate progress of the U.S. health system. Its mission is to produce evidence to make health care safer, higher quality, more accessible, equitable, and affordable, and to work within HHS and with other partners to make sure that evidence is understood and used.


Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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